ibnlive » India

Jul 11, 2011 at 05:05pm IST

Kalka Mail accident: death toll rises to 67

New Delhi: A special train that was dispatched to carry the injured passengers from the Howrah-Delhi Kalka Mail derailment site in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, reached New Delhi on Monday morning, ending the horrific ordeal. Doctors with medical supplies received over 165 passengers on the platform.

The Centre has announced compensation packages for families of all the casualties and the injured.

Minister of State for Railways KH Muniyappa said, "It's an unfortunate incident; the Prime Minister has announced compensation for victims."

"Rs 5 lakh for family of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh for major injuries and Rs 25000 for simple injuries keeping track of rescue operations," added Muniyappa.

The train derailed in Uttar Pradesh leaving over 67 passengers dead and about 250 injured, touting it to be the worst accident of this year. The train was reportedly travelling at a speed of 108 Km/Hr when it derailed near Fatehpur Malwan railway station at 12.20 pm.

The Delhi-Howrah route still remains disrupted and seven trains stand cancelled.

The impact was such that 13 bogies were thrown off the tracks, many on top of others, which left them badly mangled.

The train had 1,200 passengers on board when the incident took place leaving scores trapped inside.

The first helping hand came from the locals as soon as the police reached the accident spot.

Many passengers broke the the glass windows of the 3 AC tier coaches to free themselves.

Local sources confirmed that gas cutters were used to cut through the twisted mass of iron that many mangled bogies had become.

Passengers were shocked and dazed with what their train journey had become. Those who were rescued feared for their fellow travellers who were still trapped inside.

"People are still inside we can hear their voices," said a rescued passenger.

A while after the accident took place, the Army joined in the rescue operations, sending medical teams and deploying Chetak helicopters for emergency evacuations. A specialised team of National Disaster Relief Force, also, rushed to the accident spot.

Uttar Pradesh Minister of State for Railways Mukul Roy said that an enquiry had been set up to look into the cause of the accident.

The question is what caused the worst train accident of the year so far.

Preliminary reports suggest the driver may have applied emergency brakes and at a speed of 108 km per hour, it proved fatal.

But many questions remain to be answered:

- The train was moving within the speed limits and with Malwa not as a scheduled stop, what forced the driver to apply the emergency brake?

- Experts say sudden application of emergency brakes don't really lead to derailments, so does it mean the air brakes of other bogies failed?

- Or were the tracks damaged?

The mishap that took place on Sunday also raises questions over the safety record of the railways. Over 90 accidents have taken place in the last 12 months, which is not a record the world's largest rail network can be proud of.

<b>Map: Kalka Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh</b><br><br> <img src="http://static.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/07_2011/kalka-express-map-100711.jpg" width="100%" alt="Map showing location of Kalka Express accident" title="Map showing location of Kalka Express accident"><br><br> <b>Map: Puri-Guwahati Express derailed in Assam</b><br><br> <img src="http://static.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/07_2011/assam-train-blast-100711.jpg" width="100%" alt="Map showing location of Puri-Guwahati Express blast">

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